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    August 04, 2020 4 min read

    How Can I Soften Water Without a Water Softener?

    soften water without a water softener

    If you're looking to soften hard water without a water softener, this is the article for you. First, let's explain what is hard water. Hard water is water that is high in dissolved minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. The minerals are harmless to human health but wreak havoc on many homeowners.

    How does hard water form? As rainwater falls on the ground, it runs through mineral-rich soil and rock. Calcium and magnesium are then dissolved into the water, which gives it its hardness  That water then travels through pipes and into our home, which can cause limescale and other mineral build-up. Have you ever noticed white spots or marks around water fixtures or on your dishes? These are dried mineral deposits that come from the water — while they aren't dangerous, they sure can be frustrating to clean and an eyesore. In this article, we'll explain the effects of hard water and alternatives to softening hard water without a water softener.

    How to tell if you have hard water?

    • Water flow is reduced: Due to limescale buildup in your pipes, you might notice a decrease in water pressure from your taps.
    • Energy bills are higher than required: Since your appliances have to work harder due to limescale, your energy bills could be higher 
    • Dry hair and skin: The minerals can cling to your scalp, causing your hair to become dry and brittle The same can happen to your skin, mineral residue can irritate your skin
    • Household chores require more soap: Hardness minerals affect soap and shampoo quite significantly, decreasing soap formation and creating soap scum that’s difficult to wash off. Your laundry could lose color and not be cleaned as efficiently because the minerals prevent water and detergent from foaming 
    • Water tests reveal hardness: For rural homeowners, DIY test kits can easily be purchased online. For urban homeowners, follow this article to see your city's water hardness level


    Traditionally, water softeners, most frequently ion exchange water softeners, are the most common and widely recognized way to treat hard water. The technology is highly developed and in most cases works well to reduce the hardness level.

    Are you looking for an alternative to investing in a water softener? If you don’t want to install a water softener, there's still hope for you! Keep reading to find out ways to make hard water easier to live with.

    How do you soften water naturally?

    So, how do you convert hard water to soft water at home? Well, the basics of softening water are removing the minerals that cause hardness, such as calcium and magnesium. There are several effective methods to do this. However, your chosen method depends on whether you want all the water in your house treated, or only specific points like your sink tap or showerhead.

    Here are some quick fixes that some hard water homeowners have used:

    • Try bottled water instead of tap water for smaller uses: This is usually not advised due to the environmental impact
    • Soften your kitchen water by boiling: Boiling will make the salts in water sink to the bottom of the boiler. You can then scoop out this water or pour the water in another pot leaving the deposits in the end. 
    • Install an ion-exchange filter to your kitchen faucet or use a water pitcher filter
    • Install a showerhead with a built-in shower filter: Softened shower water has many benefits for your skin and hair health
    • Use a moisturizer after showering to keep your skin from drying out due to hard water.
    • Incorporate apple cider vinegar or lemon juice into your hair wash final steps to remove the hard water minerals
    • Shut off the hot water valve to your washing machine and only wash your clothes in cold water: without the heat, hard water is less likely to damage your clothes, fade them or cause wrinkling.
    • Set a low drying temperature on your dishwasher: again this mitigates the effect of hard water leaving white water spots
    • Scrub hard water spots with vinegar: Try apple cider or white vinegar to remove stains, white spots on fabric, and mineral build-up on the appliance .
    • Get professional cleaning to remove limescale buildup inside your pipes. If you're comfortable with plumbing, this could be a DIY project, otherwise, call a professional. This will keep your appliances running longer.


    Is there an alternative to a water softener?

    Another option to a water softener is a salt-free water conditioner – often incorrectly called softening – which is an alternative to sodium or potassium-based water softening. If you're tired of buying salt for your salt-based water softener, then a water conditioner may be just what you're looking for.

    They neutralize the harmful effects of “hardness” particles by capturing them within calcium carbonate crystals and changing the particles molecular composition, so they can’t stick to appliances and plumbing pipes. The main benefits of a salt-free system, are that you’re also going to see very little maintenance or treatment on the system. This is because they don't require the monthly refills of salt and are relatively cheaper than a salt-based water softeners. Conditioners, however, do not soften water. The Water Quality Association states that water softening devices can have the ability to reduce scaling in pipes and fixtures, but they do not claim to remove calcium and there is no testing standard to prove that they do.

    In the long run...

    Though all the alternatives to a water softener may work temporarily, they are just quick fixes that don't address the root problem. If you own your home and are looking for a long-lasting solution, the only way to rid your home of hard water completely is through the traditional water softener process of ion exchange. In the long run, we highly recommend you to research and consider the possibility of installing a whole-house water softener. If you’re looking to add more life to your water-using appliances and save money on soap and detergent in the process, it is a worthwhile investment. In fact, a water softener may end up paying you back in more ways than you imagined. Learn more about water softeners at Aquatell today.